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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, March 9, 2001

Isle auto premiums 25th highest in U.S.

Honolulu's auto insurance premiums were the 25th most expensive in a recent survey of 106 U.S. cities, with an average annual premium of $1,317 for a mid-size sedan.

Detroit had the highest premium at $2,953, according to Rochester, Wis.-based management consulting firm Runzheimer International. The cheapest city in the survey was Des Moines, Iowa, with an average rate of $578 a year.

Schuler shareholders approve merger

Schuler Homes Inc.'s proposed merger with California's sixth-largest home builder, privately owned Western Pacific Housing, has won solid approval from Schuler shareholders. The Honolulu-headquartered housing developer said 90 percent of its shares were voted and of those, more than 99 percent were in favor of the merger.

When the combination takes place, probably in the first week in April, the new company will have the Schuler Homes name and be about twice the size Schuler was. Together, the companies have a backlog of 1,954 homes sold but not yet delivered in Hawaii and on the mainland, with a total value of $581 million.

In other news . . .

Bullet C. Brewer & Co. has promoted Robert J. Ehrhart to president of Hawaii's Own Corp., a marketing subsidiary headquartered in Sumner, Wash. Hawaii's Own sells guava-based tropical juices.

Bullet Washington -- The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating stock sales by Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, made days before an analyst issued a negative report on the Internet retailer.

Bullet London -- Royal Dutch/Shell Group likely faces a bidding war for Barrett Resources Corp. after the U.S. natural-gas producer yesterday rejected Shell's $2.2 billion takeover offer as too low, analysts said.

Bullet NEW YORK -- On the eve of today's bankruptcy hearing at which a federal judge could decide which bidder gets the troubled Trans World Airlines Inc.'s assets, a group backed by billionaire financier Carl Icahn increased its offer for the bankrupt airline to $1.1 billion.

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